Anthony Collins: Doubts & Shouts
Freak n' Chic

Featuring ten never-before-released tracks, Doubts & Shouts is Anthony Collins' debut full-length for Freak n' Chic. The Paris-based producer traffics in a snappy house style that extends outside minimal by incorporating ethnic elements, specifically Afrobeat rhythms and percussion. After opening strongly with the laid-back stepper “Fragile,” which receives a strong boost from female vocalizing that's so soulful it verges on entranced if not semi-ecstatic, Doubts & Shouts settles into position with the ten-minute mood piece “Blossom.” Unfortunately, the piece hews too much to a singular intensity throughout, and its acoustic guitar, organ, and piano colourations resembles the kind of tentative noodling one associates with a warm-up jam jazz musicians might perform prior to a session proper. The tune's restrained funk pulse is snappy enough, for sure, but the unwavering intensity level proves the track's undoing. The slightly more aggressive “Mondays” includes an infectious funk-house groove, creamy keyboard accents, and a lithe bass line but as before the track spins its atmospheric wheels for nearly eight minutes.

Thankfully, though, the album improves considerably thereafter when the focus shifts to clubby house fare. The clubby house banger “Mist” impresses, due largely to the force of its single-minded dance floor relentlessness and the pumping pulse that kicks in during the track's final minutes, and, despite its excessive length, “Prism” manages to holds one's attention with a fresh fusion of African-styled percussive grooves and sweaty house attack. Goosed by repeating “wah” and male vocal motifs, the track comfortably cruises at a mid-to-high-velocity for a full fourteen minutes. Strong too are “About Faith,” which weds exotic percussion with a burning house pulse, and “Eau Trouble,” which peppers its wiry bass-pulsations with a multitude of voice fragments, including a female drawling something about “typical girls” alongside assorted other distorted exhalations. Traces of Carl Craig seem to echo throughout “Tango Bizarre,” in part due to the track's loose and open-ended incorporation of acoustic instruments (acoustic guitar, drums, piano) into its electronic swing. Though “Blossom” and “Mondays” dilute the album's impact early on, the seventy-eight-minute Doubts & Shouts recovers to prove itself as an otherwise solid collection. Nevertheless, Collins might have been better off to pare the album down by omitting the “home listening” mood pieces to keep the focus squarely on the club-styled ravers.

April 2009